Modern braces are more durable than ever, and patients’ risk of breaking them has reduced significantly in recent years. Unfortunately, however, the risk is still present! Ideally, you’ll never have to deal with broken orthodontic appliances, but Manhattan Family Orthodontics believes in preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. In the spirit of that, we want to tell you what you should do if you break your braces.
Firstly, You Should Panic.
We’re just kidding! No matter how your braces broke, you shouldn’t panic! The first thing you should do when you realize you’ve broken your braces is assess the situation; that will help you determine what you need to do next. Unless your braces broke because of a facial injury, it is highly unlikely you need to call an ambulance or go to an emergency doctor in a panic.
No, But Seriously, You Should Give Us A Call…
Once you’re sure there’s no bigger issue that needs immediate attention, you should contact our orthodontic team at Manhattan Family Orthodontics! You need to schedule an appointment at one of our two New York locations to get your braces repaired as soon as possible. Though it is rare for broken braces to affect treatment progress negatively, it is better to have them fixed sooner rather than later, just in case.
Please be honest with us about what happened and the state of your braces, even if they broke because you were doing something you weren’t supposed to! Honesty will allow us to determine the seriousness of the situation and give you the most helpful advice.
…Then Make Yourself Comfortable…
Though broken metal, clear, or lingual braces are usually not urgent, call-an-ambulance emergencies, they can be unpleasant to deal with. Here are some tips to minimize your discomfort and protect your braces until Dr. Togias, Dr. Nicolay, Dr. Moskowitz, Dr. Praedikow, or Dr. Karam can make repairs.
Cut Or Bend Broken Wires
If a broken wire is sticking out or poking you, try first to bend it flat until it is no longer bothering you. If that is not possible, you can cut the wire with nail clippers or small wire cutters. When trimming, you want to get as close to the teeth as possible, but be careful not to cut yourself or swallow any metal clippings! Use orthodontic wax to hold the wire in place and prevent further irritation if necessary.
Secure Broken Brackets
Gently push loose or dislodged brackets back into place and secure them with orthodontic wax. The wax will prevent pinching and poking of the cheek and gums and keep the bracket from pulling or becoming even more separated.
If your bracket is no longer in your mouth at all, store it in a safe place and bring it to your repair appointment.
It is critical that you DO NOT try to remove a still attached bracket or try to reglue it yourself! DIY attempts will only worsen the situation and potentially cause unnecessary pain or damage to your teeth!
Try Ice & Over-The-Counter Pain Medication
Applying ice to the outside of your mouth periodically can help prevent and reduce swelling and soreness.
Depending on the severity of the situation, you might need something stronger than orthodontic wax or ice. Consider taking over-the-counter pain medications for relief. Ask your pharmacist or primary care provider for assistance, and follow all instructions carefully!
Eat Soft Food
Until we have repaired your braces, eat soft food that requires little to no chewing. This precaution will stabilize your braces’ condition and help reduce the discomfort you might experience if your mouth is tender or sore.
…And Maintain Oral Hygiene.
There’s a misconception that broken braces = a full stop on your oral hygiene routine. But the truth is that damaged braces do not permit you to skip brushing and flossing. It might be a little inconvenient to work around them or cause some aching in your mouth, but maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial not only to the success of your treatment but also to your oral health!
Trust us—the last thing you want is to give tooth decay and gum disease an inhabitable environment! Unless you are experiencing unbearable pain, you should continue to brush and floss as usual. Just be gentle!
Bonus: Rinsing with warm salt water a few times per day is an excellent way to prevent and soothe sores, swelling, and infected wounds.
What Should I Do If My Clear Aligners Break?
If your Invisalign or 3M Clarity clear aligners become damaged and unwearable, contact our office for replacements. In the meantime, wear your previous aligners to keep your teeth from regressing too much.
Do NOT advance to the next tray without getting explicit permission from one of our orthodontists to do so! We’ve carefully designed your personalized treatment program to achieve the best results; making unauthorized changes could extend your overall treatment time.
Manhattan Family Orthodontics Has Your Back No Matter What!
Our team is here for you in “orthodontic sickness” and in health. Please do not hesitate to contact our Uptown or Downtown New York offices whenever something is amiss with your braces! We’ll set you straight no matter what!